Real Madrid will reportedly try to bring defender Ronald Araujo from La Liga arch-rivals Barcelona next summer. The Uruguayan defender, who is playing quite well this season, has been a rare shining star in the rather dark season of the Camp Nou side and is an indispensable member of their first team.
However, his contract with the Blaugrana expires in the summer of 2023 and as of this moment, coach Xavi Hernandez and the club hierarchy have not held any discussions about a possible contract renewal. In exactly one year, the 22-year-old player will be allowed to open talks with other clubs, and that is an opportunity that Barca's biggest opponent could take.
According to Spanish publication Diario AS, the Whites' president Florentino Perez is willing to meet the player's contract demands and bring him to Catalonia. In case Barcelona fail to agree a new deal with the young and talented centre-back, he could join Real Madrid as a free agent in the summer of 2023. However, he wouldn't be the only player who has had to move between the two clubs on a free transfer, with no fee included.
Javier Saviola - Barcelona to Real Madrid, 2007
Barcelona were Javier Saviola's first European club. He moved to Camp Nou in 2001, when he was 19 years old. Throughout his six-years stay there, he spent two seasons on loan at Monaco and Sevilla, respectively. The Argentine forward featured in 172 official games for the Blaugrana, scoring 72 goals.
After his contract with Barca ran down in the summer of 2007, Saviola signed a three-year agreement with Real Madrid. Despite being on a lucrative deal, he struggled at the Santiago Bernabeu, netting just five times in 30 total appearances before leaving for Benfica in 2009.
Luis Enrique - Real Madrid to Barcelona, 1996
Luis Enrique spent five seasons wearing the Real Madrid jersey, from 1991 to 1996. One of his most memorable moments from that time was his goal in the 5-0 trashing for Barcelona in January 1995. However, little did he know that come next year, he would defend the colors of his side's most hated rival.
Finishing his Madrid spell with 18 goals in 213 appearances, he moved to Barcelona in the summer of 1996. The Catalans' fans were initially skeptical of their new arrival, but he quickly won them over. The Spaniard ended up staying at the Camp Nou for the next eight seasons, becoming club captain, and netting several important El Clasico goals. In 2004, he hung up his boots having played in exactly 300 games for Barca and registered 108 goals.
Luis Milla - Barcelona to Real Madrid, 1990
Former Spanish midfielder Luis Milla came through the Barcelona youth academy, before finally getting a promotion to the first squad in 1988. However, his dream quickly turned into a nightmare as was embroiled in a bitter contract extension battle with the club management and then-coach Johan Cruyff two years later, which ended with his free transfer to Real Madrid.
He was severely injured in his first season but recovered to play a key role in the team's victories in two leagues and one Copa del Rey, despite Fernando Redondo's purchase in 1994. He played as a defensive midfielder but had managed to rack up four goals in 216 matches for Madrid, compared to the two he netted for Barcelona's senior team, appearing 72 times.
Bernd Schuster - Barcelona to Real Madrid, 1988
During the '80s, Bernd Schuster was a prominent player of Barcelona, commanding the midfield and scoring goals. His former club president, Josep Lluis Nunez, as well as some of his past coaches, Helenio Herrera, Udo Lattek, Terry Venables, and Luis Aragones, had tense relationships with the German. He spent eight years in northeastern Spain, from 1980 to 1988, summed up with 211 appearances in all competitions, tallying 74 goals.
Because of the intense rivalry between the two giants, his move to Real Madrid was contentious - especially since it was a free transfer. His style of play matched the Quinta del Buitre, a group of homegrown Madrid players that led the team to the supremacy of the Spanish Championship in the 1980s. His stay at Madrid was short-lived, though, as he departed Los Blancos two years later, leaving behind a legacy of 13 goals in 80 games.
Josep Samitier - Barcelona to Real Madrid, 1932
An interesting fact is that Josep Samitier was Spain's highest-earning soccer player in 1925. The former Spanish midfielder was a part of Jack Greenwell's illustrious Barcelona roster. He left an incredible legacy filled with trophies and goals for his 13-year-stay at the club. Having appeared in precisely 300 matches in the blue and red kit, Samitier netted 184 times.
However, in 1933, at the age of 30, he fell out of favor at the club and was demoted to the reserve squad. The circumstance was quickly exploited by Real Madrid, then known as Madrid CF. He left Catalonia to join the Meringues without any compensation, teaming up with his former Barca teammates, Francisco Bru and Ricardo Zamora. Despite the fact that his time with the Madrid club was brief, he did contribute to four goals in just eight appearances, prior to his exit in 1934.